Former Lake George Watershed Coalition project manager David Decker was arraigned today on a 22-count indictment for using his position to pocket more than $500,000, according to State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
"Mr. Decker’s brazen scheme diverted more than half a million dollars meant to protect and improve Lake George for its residents, vacationers and other visitors from near and far," State Comptroller DiNapoli said. "Thanks to our partnerships with District Attorney Jason Carusone and Warren County Sheriff Nathan "Bud" York, we have exposed this scam."
"It has been a pleasure working with State Comptroller DiNapoli’s office on this complicated case," Warren County Sheriff York said. "My office opened this criminal investigation, like many cases, on a tip from a concerned citizen. We appreciate the help from State Comptroller DiNapoli’s office and the State Department of Taxation and Finance, which clarified all the criminal acts allegedly committed by David Decker."
Decker, 67, of Burnt Hills, allegedly used the stolen funds to gamble and indulge in other luxuries. To do so, he double billed the state and federal government, inflated invoices and created a shell business to bill for extra income. He also allegedly pocketed money meant for vendors. Decker was also indicted for associated tax fraud.
Decker’s alleged ill-gotten gains include:
- $187,000 through inflated invoices for unapproved salary hikes and other payments;
- $135,000 from double billing state and federal grants; and
- $118,000 by stealing subcontractors pay and falsifying grant invoices.
The Lake George Watershed Coalition is a consortium of municipalities and organizations surrounding Lake George including Warren County, the towns of Queensbury and Bolton and the village of Lake George, and was created in 2001 to preserve the beauty and health of Lake George by coordinating state and federal grant funds. Decker worked as program manager until his arrest last year.
The State Comptroller thanks the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the United States Forest Service, and the New York State Department of State for their assistance in this investigation.
The charges against the defendant are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has committed to fighting public corruption and encourages the public to help fight fraud and abuse. New Yorkers can report allegations of fraud involving taxpayer money by calling the toll-free Fraud Hotline at 1-888-672-4555, by filing a complaint online at [email protected], or by mailing a complaint to: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Investigations, 14th Floor, 110 State St., Albany, NY 12236. Review prior cases at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/investigations.